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Is it time to clock teachers’ working hours?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    If schools paid the same attention to teachers’ workload as they do to their budgets would it make a difference?

    ‘In work, teachers are often praised for “going the extra mile” with their working time treated as if it were elastic, stretched into evenings, weekends and holidays for administrative tasks that they know have little benefit to their pupils, says Andrew Foster, head of education at the Tougher Minds consultancy.

    Writing in the 1 June edition of Tes, Foster explores this problem and suggests a solution…

    But what if we thought about teachers' time the same way that we do about money? Currently, Foster suggests, the disparity between how we think of money and how we think of time is the issue.

    "We would not dream of being so cavalier with a school's budget," Foster writes.’

    What are your views on this issue? Would documenting all the hours that teachers work every day really give a clearer picture of how much extra time is spent doing the job, and could it lead to positive change, for example more pay, reduced workload or shorter working hours?

  2. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    The real problem is attitudes towards staff. In my current non education job, my employer does research into other firms with the highest recorded employee satisfaction to try to replicate it throughout the business. Too many schools are on the other end of the scale, treating staff as a resource to be used up. Foster's suggestion really shows no change in that perspective.

    Many schools issue releases talking about "the senior team and the staff". Shows how some SLT teams consider themselves to be above "the staff" whilst forgetting that they are part.
  3. install

    install Star commenter

    Yes - it would make a huge difference if the real time were factored in. Especially actual planning and marking time for some teachers. Along with Report Writing, meeting/phoning parents, checking and responding to emails and report writing to name a few.
    Peace11, agathamorse and Lucilla90 like this.
  4. bertiehamster

    bertiehamster New commenter

    This is true. I like the experiment I hear of in Nottingham (I think) which involves no more than 2 hours extra per day-but when I suggest that leadership should look at what is possible taking those hours as a maximum not a target the answer is always "but what about the children? The work won't fit into that time"-and this is from classroom teachers. It's as if people want to be overworked like some badge of martyrdom, and it's been growing like this for the last 30 years. will we ever learn?
  5. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Reminds me of an old joke

    "Living on a budget is the same as living beyond your means, except now you have a record of it"
    agathamorse, BetterNow, drvs and 3 others like this.
  6. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    It would be amazing to get a significant sample to clock in and out whenever doing some work, just to find out exactly how many hours they work, then to work out the salary on an hourly rate.

    One problem is the clause in STPCD which says that we have to do whatever it takes to discharge our duties. Or contracts saying you have to do anything reasonably directed by the head within directed time. Some people’s idea of reasonable and others’ can vary a lot.

    Another problem can be SLT who live to work, expecting colleagues to have no life outside school. E.g. When doing twelve hours a day all week in class and about 6-8 hours each Sunday, then getting accused of being unwilling to ‘go the extra mile’ by being unable to go in on demand in the holidays.
  7. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Perhaps it should be worked out like when you use a solicitor. So much per hour plus then the cost of a letter/phone call/meeting etc. I'm sure if we were paid per word for data entry there would be a lot less data to enter!
  8. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    only useful if we can clock the hours at home plus the lunch and breaks that go for impromptu meetings about work...etc a result of a last minute directed command from on high or lack of information/resources concerning activities directed by other staff but expected to be carried out by teachers in their own time.
    The only classroom teachers I have ever heard mention doing over and above reasonable hours voluntarily were those on their way up and collecting evidence of supposedly motivating tired colleagues to do the same.......

    this attitude will only change is if it is frowned on by everyone involved or accounted for by the number of actual teaching hours of full classes clocked per teacher over a whole year.
    teachers being given large groups of behaviour and or Sen issues on full teaching time tables are already doing more than their fair share of reasonable hours in terms of extra admin time per student in terms of data input, assessment and marking and even more unaccounted energy and admin time per student with an issue.
    This is what is completely ignored year after year.........
  9. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    Imagine how rich we would all be ...at first!

    The sad thing is, teachers are either too scared, bullied or overworked to implement the unions’ action ‘short of strike action’, let alone demand to be paid for their work. And don’t get me started on the supply situation...:(
  10. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    one of my schools did price each meeting, then asked if it was worth it.
    So say you charge £20 per hour for a teacher and double for SLT for simple Maths, a whole school meeting with 12 teachers and 3 SLT would cost something like over £360 for a single hour. Was it worth the cash?
    For a large secondary with say 70 teachers, £1400 plus TLA plus SLT.
    Then of course, there are the schools that ban TAs from doing such tasks as display and photocopying/trimming as that is not their job, but then get their highest paid staff to do the same tasks.
    All other branches of industry have quickly cottoned on to the use of apprentices for low grade tasks (I was on the YTS when I left school so do think that youngsters can do such tasks for such low pay until they are worth a bit more)
    JohnJCazorla and simonbfc like this.
  11. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    The problem would be that some mark books (for example) faster than others.

    Two people in the same department, one has a set of books marked in an hour. The other it takes two hours.

    The second will be told the problem isn’t workload, but slow work rate. Everyone will be judged by the ‘fastest worker’.
    drek, JohnJCazorla and catmother like this.
  12. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Overtime. If schools had to pay that the workload issue would vanish in an instant.

    Seriously, the basic problem (as already said) is the clause in the contract that says that teachers must work any extra time to "get the job done". Problem is that the job description is effectively infinite. All teachers know that you can easily (without the demands of SLT) generate far more work than you can deal with effectively.

    The other thing that would need to change is completely unrealistic time audits that say you can do things in a flash that really take many hours.
    drek and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Drdad

    Drdad New commenter

    There are few well-meaning ideas in the profession that can't be repurposed, in a short space of time, as a stick to beat staff with. I can see this be used against those staff who are not considered to be working enough hours. Teachers themselves (particularly young, naïve, ambitious, delete where applicable) already like to outdo each other with talk of how many hours they put in.
    BetterNow, JohnJCazorla and catmother like this.
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    Time equals money in paid jobs.

    And in unpaid jobs, time equals sacrifice and voluntary work.

    In terms of pay, it seems that classroom teaching is somewhere between the two? Take marking. An 'Examiner' gets paid to mark the answers according to the number of questions/scripts marked.
    But for a similar task, it seems a 'classroom teacher' is neither given the suitable pay or time to mark student answers.
  15. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    The problem with experts trying to make a quick buck off public taxes by spotting ‘problems’ and asking schools to solve them is that schools dump them on individual classroom teachers.
    And the problems are of course not evenly divided per teacher........
    the curriculum seems to have trebbled but the time for teaching has reduced by a third.
    We are being asked to run other events in and out of curriculum time, for TLR staff to show Ofsted how much we cater for diversity, premium students, (always makes me think of Ryan air), health, financial skills, obesity, Fgm, mental issues, bullying, training for handling these issues, communication....exhaustive list goes on and on.....
    Year 11's this year probably had around 20 or less full weeks of teaching.....many schools had not started teaching the 2018 spec in year 9 due to lack of resources and information from exam boards in time, subsequently leading to many HODs resigning......... resulting in many teachers scrambling to finish the course in time......
    tenpast7 likes this.
  16. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Whereas I was told yesterday by my HT that we need to be careful as many other schools provide less X.

    I pointed out that we should not be in a race to the bottom but instead aspire to provide staff the best conditiions.
  17. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Selfish lemmings.
    Drdad likes this.
  18. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Exactly. Teachers' time has no value, monetary or otherwise, to school managers.
    tenpast7 likes this.
  19. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Prepare to be amazed! It has been done, a proper study and sample size, by the DFE in 2016


    Good data exists about the hours that teachers work and what they do (or at least what they did in 2016).

    SEBREGIS Senior commenter

    Before I became a teacher, if my boss had said 'I want you to work a full day. But you'll have to spend time looking at the figures each day, which may take you anything from three to four hours of your own time. Plus also, obviously, you'll have to prepare you work for the next morning. So you'll have to work to about 9.00, sometimes longer, and obviously weekends. I won't pay you any more for this, and by the way, if the weather means that our results are not good, I'll hold you personally responsible for that' - well, what well known two word sentence ending in 'off' would I have replied with?

    This is essentially what teachers sign up for. And feel bad and have mental breakdowns when we can't deliver.

    I don't blame management for this. If we weren't sheep, they wouldn't shear us.

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